The video: High off the overwhelmingly positive reviews for their new collaborative album Watch the Throne, Kanye West and Jay-Z released the album's first music video Thursday night on MTV. (Watch it below.) Legendary music video director Spike Jonze (Beastie Boys' "Sabotage," Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice") helmed the "jovial" clip for the duo's popular single "Otis." Alternating between footage of West and Jay stripping down (then joyriding in) a Maybach and the rappers spitting lyrics in front of an American flag, the sparse video also boasts brief cameos from a group of models and comedian Aziz Ansari.
The reaction: Given the "silly high-concept music videos" that Jonze is known for directing, not to mention the typical bombastic behavior that accompanies anything Jay-Z and Kanye West do, the "Otis" video is "remarkably straightforward," says Matthew Perpetua at Rolling Stone. Yes, it's refreshing, says Spencer Kornhaber at The Atlantic, to see the high-profile rappers simply "bro-ing out, trading lines and noogies," and joyfully palling around. But is it too simple? asks Matt Preira at the Miami New Times. For all the pomp and circumstance leading up to its premiere, the video is underwhelming. "Remember when an MTV Music Video World Premiere meant, like, Michael Jackson presenting a half-hour saga?" Two friends hanging out doesn't cut it. Judge for yourself: